The dire financial situation of the government’s flagship hospital, the Karl Heusner Memorial, is public knowledge. But today the Chairman of the K.H.M.H. Authority, Doctor Andre Sosa, provided some background context. During an appearance on Channel Five’s Open Your Eyes, he explained that while the K.H.M.H. did get thirty million dollars in government subvention, the COVID pandemic has driven up costs to such an extent the national referral hospital needs an additional four hundred thousand a month. The subvention alone, he says, simply no longer “cuts it.” Doctor Sosa warns the pandemic is not yet over and the hospital needs support to meet current needs and future COVID waves.

Dr. Andre Sosa, Chairman, KHMH Authority


“Even though KHMH is a statutory board, we are part of the government. We are here to provide for the people of Belize. At the start of the COVID pandemic there was a meeting that involved several parties. The Ministry of Health, the labor department, the Karl Heusner workers union, which was an ad hoc committee at that time. And the purpose was to try and prevent exactly this scenario. Where there would be a demand that might not be met in terms of the provision of supplies and in terms of the monies needed to fight covid. And that came from a historic situation where Karl Heusner would often times be faced with inadequate flow of supplies. But also it was in the context of a labour dispute, with regards to the increment and the raise of pay that was due, but additionally to that of course was prospect that with the looming financial crisis brought on by COVID that intense measures would have to be taken, including possibly, pay cuts. And, the responsible persons at that time foresaw the possibilities and to get ahead of things, by making sure that efficiencies were set in place, to try and minimize wastage and also to ensure that the flow of funds, the commitment from Central Government would be there. It was agreed that Central Government would assume full responsibility for bearing the costs of COVID-19. And also that the subvention would not be touched, provided of course that Karl Heusner would be able to be efficient in what it did then. What it would do going into the future. I think certainly to a large part, the foresight should have meant a smooth delivery for the process. Nevertheless, we know that COVID has created lots of novel and new situations, so you have to give little bit of leeway in terms of unexpected developments. Certainly the advent of the delta variant with large numbers of patients that it brought, the large number of deaths that it caused, that was one of those unexpected situations. The system needs to be a little bit more flexible, a little bit more responsive in terms of these kinds of events. And I will tell you: there are countries that are in their fourth, fifth waves and so on. Don’t think that we are so special that we will necessarily be able to avoid further waves, no.”

Channel 5